CBE’s MentHER Program Hosts Pitch the Purse Event

Is it possible to make a purse out of scraps? For the creative students in the MentHER group, it is. 

Purses made by Lansdowne High School students using various materials such as boxes, fabric scraps, and egg cartons. 

This semester, MentHER hosted Lansdowne High School at the Sandbox in Hawkins Hall for a “Pitch the Purse” event. Using recycled items such as egg cartons, fabric scraps, and ribbon, students were tasked to construct a purse as well as the contents inside. Students were given an hour to design, construct, and pitch their purse to the group. After the pitch, students received feedback on how to improve their business acumen going forward. 

“MentHER provided us a space at “Pitch the Purse to guide and collaborate with women with a fun project but also observe their impressive business knowledge as high school students,” shared project management & business analysis student Sadie Barrett. 

The Pitch the Purse event aimed to instill teamwork, innovative thinking, collaboration, and confidence in the students through providing unusual materials and minimal directions. By doing so, students had the opportunity to push themselves in a real-world simulation of the creation and pitching process. Pitch the Purse embraces the idea that failing forward can bring the best innovation. 

Students working together to pitch their purse to the rest of the group.

Lansdowne High School students extended these ideas during the event. Students made quick decisions and bartered for better materials, building business confidence, and overcoming stereotypes of women in business being “bossy” in the workplace by expressing themselves. Students also expressed great teamwork, as they not only worked together on the creation of the purses but opted to all pitch take turns while pitching their ideas, building upon their collaboration and public speaking skills. 

MentHER is a “lift as you rise” program that combines networking and mentorship opportunities among women to support the growth, education, and empowerment of College of Business & Economics students and high school students in the Baltimore area. The program works to connect professional businesswomen with 1:1 mentoring relationships with CBE students, who in turn mentor students at Lansdowne High School. 

During this event, CBE MentHER members were on hand to give guidance and support to the Lansdowne High School students. MentHER members offered their leadership to the high school students to help them gain the confidence to take on the task themselves, despite the time constraints and minimal direction. 

“I feel that the event served as a great opportunity to get a feel for “hands off” leadership as it related to teamwork because, while I played a supporting role in the activity, it was really the high school students who made most of the decisions on how they wanted to design their purse and what they wanted their pitch for it to be” explains Jeannie Rowe, a human resource management student in CBE. 

Pitch the Purse aimed to teach innovative thinking, collaboration, and confidence. This bag made by Lansdowne High School students was made with a box and string. 

MentHER empowers women by providing mentoring in financial literacy, career planning, and life and workplace skills. The MentHER program also builds college and career readiness by bringing Lansdowne High School students to the TU campus and gives them access to college facilities. “MentHER openly talks about advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in the workplace, so it is important for us to work together, and know that we can support each other,” said Chloe Gladson, a marketing concentration student. 

MentHER continues to impact women within multiple stages of their lives to gain the business skills and confidence they will need to further their careers. MentHER gives women a space that they do not normally receive in the business world and allows them to expand their knowledge and future careers in an area where they are not commonly in power. As described by Rowe, “the program not only allows young adult women to inspire women younger than them, but it also allows for young women to be inspired by and develop professional relationships with women in the business world.”

CBE Announces New Master’s Program in Economic Analytics

The College of Business and Economics is proud to announce the approval of a new M.S. in Economic Analytics at Towson University. In this master’s program, students will use economic theory, econometrics and data science to understand how laws, policies, and other interventions impact people’s lives. The program will soft launch  in Fall 2023, allowing current Towson University undergrads to take courses in the master’s program as part of an accelerated bachelor’s to master’s program. The full launch will take place in Fall 2024, with applications opening September 15, 2023, at which point anyone will have the opportunity to apply for the program, including international students. 

Dr. Finn Christensen, professor in the Economics Department and the program director, took the lead in bringing the program to fruition, with the support of Dr. Melissa Groves and Dr. Herbert Zhao. TU’s program differs from those offered by other universities in the region. “Our economics program is the first in the area to combine data science and econometrics as part of the standard curriculum,” Dr. Christensen said.“The program can be completed in 16 months whereas most programs in the area are 2-year programs.”

The program will not only present opportunities for students in the area, but also faculty. While existing faculty can teach all the courses in the program, this will take them away from existing responsibilities, so up to two new professors will be hired to fill the gap.

It will take students up to 16-months to complete the 33 credit hours required to graduate from the program. The content will focus on applied microeconomics, with an emphasis on data analysis. The program will be offered face-to-face and full-time attendance is optimal – however, the program can be completed on a part-time basis. Students who have recently graduated with an undergraduate degree are encouraged to consider the new program, particularly those in majors such as Economics, Business Administration, Accounting, or any quantitative major such as computer science, math or physics. Students will acquire job-relevant skills such as Stata, R, and Python without needing prior knowledge in the topics. Mid-career professionals and those seeking to later complete a Ph.D. in economics or a related field are welcome. The career prospects upon graduation include roles as a data analyst, an economist, or a statistician. These positions are well paid with average salaries in excess of $80K and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported median pay in 2019 for those with a masters degree in Economics of $105,020. Due to the fact the program is a STEM-designated degree, students on an F-1 visa will be eligible for up to 3 years of OPT after graduation through the STEM OPT extension. For domestic students, this designation signals rigorous preparation to potential employers.

We’re very excited to provide students with the opportunity to earn a STEM designated MS degree in Economic Analytics at TU,”  said Dr. Judy Harris, Interim Dean in the College of Business and Economics. “This is a growing field and with hands-on application of data analysis techniques like the modeling of big data and machine learning, graduates will be well suited to meet the evolving needs of employers in the region.”

BATM Junior Becomes First TU Student to Pass the Expert Level Exam in Excel

Jeremy Hotchkiss, a Business Systems & Processes and Investments Major, is set to graduate with both an Associate and Expert level certification in Excel

As a junior Business Systems & Processes major, Jeremy Hotchkiss took the Associate Level Exam in Excel – a requirement for the program. After passing this exam with flying colors, Hotchkiss decided to take his knowledge in Excel a step further and sit for the Expert Level Exam. Hotchkiss aced the exam with a perfect score of 1,000. Hotchkiss’ success not only highlights his tremendous work ethic but earns him the honor of being the first Towson University student to graduate with both an Associate and Expert level certification for the spreadsheet system.

Microsoft Office offers two exams for those looking to get certified in the program: the Associate Level Exam and the Expert Level Exam. While the Associate Level Exam in Excel focuses on measuring competency in creating and managing Excel worksheets, the Expert Level Exam focuses on managing professional spreadsheets to enhance productivity and meet project needs in a workplace setting. As Hotchkiss is expected to graduate in winter 2024 with his degree in business systems & processes and investments, it is crucial to understand how to implement Excel within the workplace.

“By earning an Expert Level certification, Jeremy has demonstrated to all prospective employers that he has a unique set of analytical skills and capabilities,” says professor Lynnwood Cook of the Department of Business Analytics & Technology Management. “His future employer will also be pleased to learn that he scored a perfect score on the exam.”

When asked how these exams have prepared him for his future career, Hotchkiss emphasized having confidence in the tools of the program. “This exam will have provided me the knowledge and know-how to give me a better footing when it comes to database and data analysis,” he said.

Hotchkiss was able to reach this milestone through consistent studying and practice, such as completing practice tests provided by GMetrix, a certification preparation resource. “Once I had covered that, I went back to the concept sheet that laid out the potential concepts that were going to be covered on the exam,” Hotchkiss said.

Prior to Hotchkiss’ success with the Expert Level Exam, he also passed the MOS Certification Exam, exceeding the benchmark of 950 with a score of 962. Due to this achievement, the total cost of Hotchkiss’ participation in the Expert Level exam, including his GMetrix training materials, was funded by Certiport, a certification exam provider dedicated to helping people succeed through certification.

For students who are considering taking the Expert Level Exam in Excel, Hotchkiss emphasizes the importance of having a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the concepts in the Associate Level Exam, along with the new content of the Expert Level Exam.

“About a third of the Expert Exam version I completed contained concepts from the Associate Level exam. Future Excel Exam test takers should study the concepts in depth. The rest of the exam was completely new stuff that the Associate level did not cover,” said Hotchkiss.

Through this endeavor, Hotchkiss expanded his knowledge of Excel and prepared himself for a successful future. “Although Excel isn’t the most exciting subject, taking this exam opened my eyes to many new functions and such that I never knew Excel could complete or run.”

This achievement not only highlights Hotchkiss’ talents, but also opens the door to other students within the College of Business & Economics to consider going beyond the Associate Level Exam and aim for additional certifications that could set them apart from the pack when applying for jobs in their desired fields.

“Excel is a powerful tool for data visualization and data analytics,” said Dr. Chaodong Han, the chair of the Department of Business Analytics & Technology. “Students graduating with Excel proficiency and certification will gain a clear edge in a competitive job market.”

The College of Business & Economics celebrates Hotchkiss’ success and the opportunities these certifications will give Hotchkiss in his future career.

Building with sunset background

CBE earns extension of AACSB accreditation

AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) — accreditation is the highest seal of quality business schools can receive.

Towson University’s College of Business & Economics (CBE) has earned extension of accreditation for its business and accounting programs from AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

This accreditation is the highest seal of quality business schools can receive and recognizes continuous improvement. TU is part of the less than six percent of schools that are AACSB International-accredited and the less than one percent that are accredited in both academic programs. CBE is one of only four schools in Maryland to hold both accreditations.

AACSB accreditation is the longest-standing, most-recognized form of specialized accreditation business programs can receive worldwide, yet only 949 business schools in 59 countries and territories currently have AACSB accreditation. Of those institutions, only 192 hold the additional, specialized AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs.

AACSB Accredited Logo
TU is part of the less than six percent of schools that are AACSB International-accredited and the less than one percent that are accredited in both academic programs.

Earning this dual distinction requires schools to meet rigorous standards for academic programs, as well as faculty qualifications and scholarship that are designed to challenge educators to pursue excellence. To maintain accreditation, schools must demonstrate how they meet the standards, and strive for continuous improvement, every five years through a peer review process.

In the most recent accreditation maintenance cycle, a team of outside reviewers commended TU for its emphasis on experiential learning, academic advising and career services for its students, and engagement of its advisory groups.

CBE Interim Dean, Dr. Judy Harris

“This extension of accreditation from AACSB is confirmation of CBE’s commitment to excellence and of the high-quality education we provide,” said Interim Dean Judy Harris. “In particular, the peer-review team commended CBE for the depth and quality of faculty engagement and of student-faculty interactions, the dedication of CBE’s Student Academic and Career Advising unit, the strength of our assurance of learning processes, and the college’s significant social impact as measured by faculty intellectual contributions. I am so proud of the hard work of CBE faculty and staff that made this achievement possible.”

AACSB-accredited schools are recognized worldwide by top employers, and many top, global corporations only recruit from AACSB-accredited schools. Achieving AACSB accreditation is a rigorous process that assesses a school’s ability to perform in critical areas — such as teaching, research, curricula development and student learning— and ensures the programs are challenging and teach skills that give a distinct advantage in the real world.

The mission of the College of Business and Economics is to develop high-quality, innovative, and inclusive programs and resources, connect individuals to opportunities by applying theory to practice in curricular, co- curricular and scholarship activities, and transform students into professionals who will have a positive societal impact within Maryland and beyond.

The peer-review team commended CBE for the depth and quality of faculty engagement and of student-faculty interactions, the dedication of CBE’s Student Academic and Career Advising unit, the strength of our assurance of learning processes, and the college’s significant social impact as measured by faculty intellectual contributions.

Over the review period of the last five years, CBE has seen several accomplishments in program creation/revision, faculty research/participation and student impact. Highlights include:

  • Launching new combined B.S./M.S. programs in BSAP/Supply Chain Management and Business Administration/Marketing Intelligence
  • Launching new minors in Accounting, Business Analytics, and Business Law
  • Launching a certificate in Entrepreneurship, the first undergraduate certificate at TU
  • Faculty publishing 264 peer-reviewed journal articles with 47% in A* or A outlets
  • Providing six case-competitions in which 5,066 students participated
  • Mentoring CBE students in the completion of 3,558 credit-based internships

TU first received AACSB accreditation for its business administration program in 1992. In 1994, the accounting department also received AACSB accreditation. In 2008, the business administration program received its maintenance of accreditation. The accounting department followed suit in 2010. In 2013, 2018 and 2023, both programs received five-year extensions.

Students pose with company executives

Students present digital engagement strategies and social media trends to McCormick & Co. for fall case competition

This past December, ten teams and 48 students participated in the Department of Management’s Fall 2022 Live Strategy Case Competition sponsored by McCormick & Company. The McCormick & Co. judges named three winning teams. Students from the winning teams received monetary scholarships for their innovative strategies.

The sponsoring company presented students with a case study about digital engagement, popular culture and social media trends. The case challenged students to “capitalize on consumer trends and develop a digital engagement strategy that further engages the consumers and enhances McCormick’s brand presence and engagement.”

Taking first place in the competition was Team CASIS, a five-member team including Amanda Lien, Clarence Smalley, Ian Harvey-Thomas, Sierra Silkman and Samantha DeLeon.

Students pose with company executives
Members from the first place team, Team Casis, pose with McCormick & Co. executives and CBE faculty.

In second place came The McCormick Club, a five-member team including Carly DiGiacomo, Noah Hagan, Hamza Mushtaq, Richard Slemaker and Taran Thielmann.

Digital Enablers won third place with members Dylan Mayer, Sam Ray and Nicholas Wynn.

The first-place team, Team CASIS, was made up of students from a variety of majors allowing them to draw insight from several disciplines. When asked about the team’s winning strategy, Sierra Silkman their professor, Dr. Koushikee Dutta, for her help with preparing the team for success. “Dr. Dutta [taught us how] to do a comprehensive analysis of the company including internal, external and financial analysis. We used that information to come up with a strategy that we thought would be representative of the company… making sure we hit on all their key strengths.”

Members from the second place team, Team, pose with McCormick & Co. executives and CBE faculty.

Each semester, the upper-level MNGT 481 Strategic Management course offers students the opportunity to compete in the Live Strategy Case Competition to test the knowledge and skills they have gained during the class and throughout their academic careers. It is an excellent opportunity for students to practice presentation skills in a real-world environment, as well as allowing students to network with businesses local to the Towson area.

“This event is not only high impact, experiential, and an amazing learning experience for our graduating students, but it also highlights the best and the brightest in our college marking the beginning of the journey into their professional careers,” Dr. Filiz Tabak said. “None of this could have been possible without the participation of McCormick. We are very grateful to McCormick top executives for their time throughout the semester.”

In total, 310 students across 10 sections of the MNGT 481 capstone course worked on the McCormick case. Students across all sections are divided into teams and given the duration of the semester to research and prepare a written report and presentation. Teams present to their classes and the winning team from each class section goes on to present their case to executives from the sponsoring company.

Members from the third place team, Digital Enablers, pose with McCormick & Co. executives and CBE faculty.

Three McCormick & Co. executives participated in the competition as judges and provided students with invaluable feedback and a plethora of thoughtful questions. “We valued and enjoyed our time supporting TU’s Live Strategy Case Competition,” said Ryan Charlier, McCormick & Company’s Vice President of Finance. “The energy and the thought the students brought to their recommendations was evident in their presentations and provided a great perspective into the minds of one our important and growing consumer bases.”

Senior Genevieve Tchoubfong, a Business Administration major with a concentration in Human Resource Management, presents her team’s case to the McCormick & Co. judges.

When asked what advice they would give to future participants of the Live Strategy Case Competition, members from the first-place team shared two key tips: know your material and have fun.

“You’re here for a reason,” Ian Harvey-Thomas said. “They value you as much as you value them. Knowing your material is all you need. This is your strategy, your research. You know it.”

“The key is having fun,” Sierra added. “We’re very diverse, which helped our team. We had all different majors that came together so we came at it with different perspectives. We have diverse backgrounds as individuals–athletes, people working full time, different personalities. We were able to mesh well, and we worked hard. It was a lot of fun.”

Interested in learning more about or becoming a sponsor for the Department of Management’s Live Strategy Case Competition? Visit our website for more information.